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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cuffed and Dragged

by Daniel Rowinski

Simon Glik, a lawyer, was walking down Tremont Street in Boston when he saw three police officers struggling to extract a plastic bag from a teenager's mouth. Thinking their force seemed excessive for a drug arrest, Glik pulled out his cellphone and began recording.

[Boston Police Fight Cellphone Recordings; Witnesses taking audio of officers arrested, charged with illegal surveillance (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) ]Boston Police Fight Cellphone Recordings; Witnesses taking audio of officers arrested, charged with illegal surveillance (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Within minutes, Glik said, he was in handcuffs.

"One of the officers asked me whether my phone had audio recording capabilities,'' Glik, 33, said recently of the incident, which took place in October 2007. Glik acknowledged that it did, and then, he said, "my phone was seized, and I was arrested.''

The charge? Illegal electronic surveillance.

Jon Surmacz, 34, experienced a similar situation. Thinking that Boston police officers were unnecessarily rough while breaking up a holiday party in Brighton he was attending in December 2008, he took out his cellphone and began recording.

Police confronted Surmacz, a webmaster at Boston University. He was arrested and, like Glik, charged with illegal surveillance.

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